Star Trek: Lower Decks

"Hear All, Trust Nothing"

2.5 stars

Air date: 9/29/2022
Written by Grace Parra Janney
Directed by Fill Marc Sagadraca

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

The Cerritos is assigned to oversee post-Dominon-war trade negotiations with the Karemma, the mercantile Dominion member world that was perhaps most memorably represented in DS9's "Starship Down" with a guest appearance by James Cromwell. The negotiations take place on Deep Space Nine, providing Lower Decks an opportunity to geek out using the backdrop of the Trek franchise's middlest of middle children.

And, sure, as an homage to DS9, "Hear All, Trust Nothing" puts forth its fan-service bonafides. We've got ops. The promenade. Quark's bar (the original, not the franchise extensions). Morn. Dabo tables. Shaxs and Kira swapping war stories from the Bajoran Resistance days, with each trying to one-up the other over who owes whom. The cold open gently mocks the profundity of DS9's title sequence: "Circle around and pretend we're in awe of the pylons." Armin Shimerman (Quark) and Nana Visitor (Kira) provide their voices to lend legitimacy to the whole enterprise. The animated sets of the station are flawlessly replicated. If DS9 is your Trek series, then this episode is for you.

Unfortunately, as an episode of Lower Decks, this is purely standard fare and nothing more. The plot is a shrug-worthy shaggy dog story, with Quark and his lack of ethics biting him in the ass in the way too many DS9 Quark B-stories used to. Turns out his special replicator (the "Quark 2000") — the secret to his trademarked beverages — is based on stolen Karemma technology, and now the Karemma want payback (or 76 percent of Quark's profits). Tensions boil over and we end up with a Quark kidnapping.

Meanwhile, Boimler runs up impressive winnings at the dabo table, much to Quark's staff's ire. And Tendi and Rutherford meet an annoyingly overbearing Orion, Ensign Mesk (Adam Pally under the influence of way too much coffee), who is obsessed with connecting with Tendi over their supposedly shared cultural identity of criminal piracy. Tendi is annoyed and embarrassed by this. Naturally, it turns out Mesk is an overcompensating phony who has never actually known anything about the Orion homeworld or piracy, while Tendi pulls out her suppressed pirate-family ways when the action calls for it. It's a pretty basic "twist."

Mariner is in a separate plot of her own back aboard the Cerritos, where, in a significant relationship moment, she meets all of Jennifer's other friends, who are not Mariner's cup of tea, to say the least. This plot also pivots on a sudden "twist," where it turns out Jennifer actually wants Mariner to use her no-BS attitude to take her insufferable friends down a peg. This turnabout actually saps any potential character growth for Mariner in favor of a predictable comic payoff and wacky hijinks. Rather than Mariner having to live with the fact she can't stand her girlfriend's friends, we get to watch her phaser-stun everyone with vengeful glee, which feels like (1) a cop-out and (2) quite a bit much.

In the end, "Hear All, Trust Nothing" is middling Lower Decks featuring a veneer of DS9 homage. By not being more special and consequential, it feels like a missed opportunity.

Previous episode: Reflections
Next episode: A Mathematically Perfect Redemption

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39 comments on this post

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Ashton Withers
Thu, Sep 29, 2022, 4:25am (UTC -6)
Well, I can’t say I didn’t somewhat enjoy the DS9 fanservice…
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Steve
Thu, Sep 29, 2022, 5:15am (UTC -6)
This episode was a love letter to Deep Space Nine. They made it *feel* like DS9 by using the same angles for the station, the same zoom in with the narration towards the end, and who expected a callback to the Karemma?! Talk about a deep cut. Quark's plot is straight out of DS9. Just a perfect homage in my book, even if Mariner and Tendi's plots weren't quite as good.
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Tim C
Thu, Sep 29, 2022, 5:58am (UTC -6)
It was great to see Kira, Quark and the station again! I wish they'd been put to use in a better episode though - this one rated just an "OK" for me. A bit too scattershot. I think it would have worked better without seperating our Lower Deckers from the main diplomacy storyline. As it is, it felt spread too thin for any of the storylines to really land.
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Galadriel
Thu, Sep 29, 2022, 6:38am (UTC -6)
­Weak again, but pleasant again. Because I am a gi­gan­tic DS9 fan, I en­joy­ed the epis­ode a lot, but even I can’t claim it had much sub­stan­ce be­yond fan service.

It was a hell of a fan­service, though. They got Armin Shimer­man and Nana Visitor back. The station looked great from air­lock to ops, Boim­ler played “Favour the Bold”, Quark holds old grud­ges against the Ka­­re­m­ma (and does shady business, and it punished by severe profit cuts in the end), and even the worm­­hole comes into the game. On the other side, the cha­rac­ter piece for Tendi fell flat for me, be­cause we had al­ready dived twice into that mat­ter. So we knew where this was going to, and I just waited for the Mistress of the Winter Con­stel­la­ti­ons to erupt, which she did spec­ta­cu­lar­ly. The action scenes on the Ka­rem­ma ship were fine, but we have already seen Tendi doing sim­ilar stuff in other epis­odes, so there was little sur­prise or tension.

I always wanted more Jen in this season and got it finally. The li­te­ra­ture club scene was grinding and took forever, but I am sure Ma­ri­ner felt the same, so that’s OK. The cathar­sis (“tear them a new one”) came at the right mo­ment. I laughed out loud when the two star-cros­sed lovers shot themselves.

2½ stars, maybe 3 if we consider that DS9 gets far too little fan­ser­vicy con­tent com­par­ed to TNG, VOY and TOS, and eve­ry ef­fort is laud­able. As a working place sitcom serving mem­ber­ber­ry juice as the “the fan’s drink”, this work­ed nicely. Yet, since the show car­­ries the name “Star Trek”, I should like to get more, at least oc­­ca­­si­o­n­al­ly. What about heavy the­mes, ethical di­lem­ma­ta or bold ideas? Season 3 hasn’t done any of those, but I still hope that it will keep the tra­di­tion to serve an un­for­get­tab­le clas­sic as pen­ulti­mte course.
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Karl Zimmerman
Thu, Sep 29, 2022, 7:40am (UTC -6)
Yeah, it was nice to have a DS9 love letter (complete with Nana Visitor and Armin Shimmerman reprising their roles!) But once you look past the fanservice...it's just a meh episode which doesn't really stand out in Lower Decks...or even as a part of this season. Tendi and Mariner's plots really had nothing to do with DS9 at all, and could have been in any episode with little change. It really felt like the writers just wanted an excuse to do a DS9 episode, and found a way to work that content in despite not really having a good story idea. It wasn't even particularly funny!

I think it would have been much better if they had written this episode as if it was a DS9 episode which the Lower Deckers happened to have guest roles in. It would have only taken a tiny bit of reframing.
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Chrome
Thu, Sep 29, 2022, 9:44am (UTC -6)
It was a "To thine own self be true" episode where Tendi pretended that she wanted to rehash Orion days while Mariner feigned an easygoing persona to help Jennifer's party. Then too, Quark's pretending he's a bartending genius, but the reality is he's still the same shyster. I hasten to mention that Boimler is still acting bold (but that gambit pays in DS9, remember?)

So, in that sense, the episode works functionally well with Tendi's "Pirate Mode" being the epic climax (I wonder if Tendi ever got any credit for saving Captain Freeman’s mission?) The DS9 homages were good, but perhaps there were too many. It's not like Lower Decks doesn't already reference DS9 every other episode.

But hey, it's all in good fun and as a DS9 fan it's a pleasure to see how Kira and Quark are doing, as well as the station itself!

So, good but nothing mind-shattering. I'm going with 2.5 stars.
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Norvo
Thu, Sep 29, 2022, 11:21am (UTC -6)
Shameless fan service or not... Seeing the station and hearing the DS9 theme hit all the right spots for me.

A fun, inoffensive story with some great nods to lore and continuity... And it was wonderful to hear Nana Visitor voice Kira again. However, Armin Shimerman only occasionally managed to sound like the Quark of old. It's been almost 30 years since the start of Deep Space Nine, maybe age is catching up with him.
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ThatERguy
Thu, Sep 29, 2022, 1:12pm (UTC -6)
This episode was homage to the great ds9 and some superbly. Second 4 star episode of the season.

Kira and Quark. 🙌

4 stars Bravo!
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Joseph B
Thu, Sep 29, 2022, 1:34pm (UTC -6)
I *loved* this Episode!

I just felt like I viewed a brand new episode of DS9!

Yeah — I would have preferred for the entire episode to have been focused on the Station; but what we got felt *great* !

… The Quark subplot alone is worth the price of admission!

Live Long and Prosper! 🖖
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Jammer
Thu, Sep 29, 2022, 2:19pm (UTC -6)
Review now posted.
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Daniel
Thu, Sep 29, 2022, 3:01pm (UTC -6)
I can't believe they got the actor who played Morn to voice his role!
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ThatERguy
Thu, Sep 29, 2022, 3:11pm (UTC -6)
Jammer just really doesn’t appreciate the aesthetic of Lower Decks. We don’t always want everything to be super consequential galaxy in peril stakes. Sometimes we just want to know about life in the quadrant.

Seems like y’all won’t ever be happy. This show is doing what it does extremely well. If you want galaxy in peril stakes watch disco. …Disco is awful for exactly the reasons that ot heads in the direction you seem to hope LD goes
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Brandon Adams
Thu, Sep 29, 2022, 3:44pm (UTC -6)
"TACKY CARDASSIAN FASCIST EYESORE!!!!!!"

I was rolling on the floor.
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Latex Zebra
Thu, Sep 29, 2022, 4:12pm (UTC -6)
Good fun. Solid 3 for me. Would be higher but the Orion guy was a bit annoying.
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Trek fan
Thu, Sep 29, 2022, 5:47pm (UTC -6)
Fun episode, putting the LD crew into a classic DS9 story. 3 stars. Great to see Quark and Kira. Lots of DS9 episodes about Quark (not to mention Trials and Tribble-ations) were like this one, breezy and fun. So I disagree with Jammer saying this should be more heavy and serious.
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Calth
Thu, Sep 29, 2022, 6:06pm (UTC -6)
I will never not enjoy Tendi pulling out her hidden pirate persona and kicking seven kinds of ass.
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Jammer
Thu, Sep 29, 2022, 7:37pm (UTC -6)
"So I disagree with Jammer saying this should be more heavy and serious."

That's not what I said. I said "special" and "consequential." Special in that, couldn't we have learned something about the current DS9 world beyond Quark Swindles Somebody Again Like Every Other Time? And consequential in that it matters to the DS9 universe besides Quark Loses His Profits? By no means did it need to be serious or heavy, and I didn't say so.
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Andy G
Thu, Sep 29, 2022, 9:16pm (UTC -6)
I thought this was a solid 3. Yes it was a little light on plot but I urge everyone to reset their expectations. This was never going to be "In the Pale Moonlight" or "Far Beyond the Stars." It contained great fan service with the Kira/Quark dynamic revisited, the Karemma among numerous other items. There were as well as some lightweight fun moments and even a little character growth for Mariner. A good, not great episode. Just don't be too hard on it. This is Lower Decks after all.
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Tricolaco
Thu, Sep 29, 2022, 10:23pm (UTC -6)
Well - lucky for me, DS9 IS my Trek series!!!
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philadlj
Fri, Sep 30, 2022, 9:17am (UTC -6)
First, as DS9 is my undisputed favorite Trek series I found the entire episode deeply enjoyable. The theme and sweeping shots of the station still give me chills, even when repeated for comedic effect!

I kinda wish they'd brought back Avery Brooks' for a cameo, maybe appearing before Tendi and Rutherford inside the Celestial Temple/Wormhole.

I don't mind low-stakes hangout episodes, but we've already been through Tendi struggling with her Orion heritage.

We still haven't gone that deep into Mariner's past, and considering she once served on DS9, I wanted more than a few exchanged pleasantries with Kira .

I'm torn, because I don't need the universe or the future to be on the line in every episode like DIS or PIC, but the fact LD only has ten episodes to work with means you need a couple episodes with some meat to them.

I like Mariner, but there's still too much we don't know about her, and not in a charming Garak way.

Hopefully before the end of the season more of her past is revealed, and while promotion and/or transfer would render the show's title moot, the fact of the matter is all four leads have achieved enough in these three seasons to at least make lieutenant junior grade.

They don't deserve Harry Kim Limbo!
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Troy G
Sat, Oct 1, 2022, 8:40am (UTC -6)
As I understand it, Alex Kurtzman would like to return to Deep Space Nine as a series somehow. This is a way it can be done: as an animated spin-off of Lower Decks.
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MidshipmanNorris
Sat, Oct 1, 2022, 10:24am (UTC -6)
Yknow it’s three seasons in, and while I can now call Lower Decks “competent” (at least at what it does), something about it seems very “Un-StarFleet,” if you’ll pardon my own little Easter Egg of referential humor (a certified No-Prize goes to whoever can name Episode and Scene).

Lower Decks is the kind of TV I originally got into TNG/DS9 (and to a lesser extent, Voyager) to *get away from.* Goony, pandering, insulting to my intelligence and a waste of my time in the end.

If this is Star Trek just throwing up its hands and saying “Ok, I give up, there’s no way to please you, Norris”, then at a certain point, I really just feel that it’s an exercise in futility to continue with it. SNW is in the realm of “Yeah ok sure” but it’s still carrying this baggage of Modern “Stale Trek” on it, and I just get the feeling that things are going to swerve off course before too long in that avenue as well.

… Star Trek has fired the Sci Fi writers, for being boring nerds.

As the Klingons say, “You have betrayed your oaths, and you treat honor as if it has no meaning. I should kill you where you stand!!”
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Francisco Guerrero
Sat, Oct 1, 2022, 2:25pm (UTC -6)
All it needed was this closing scene to achieve pure greatness:

Garak talking to Kira:
"Yes, Major, I may have launched a missile that caused a brownhole to make sure The Cerritos arrived here. I perhaps may have reminded Quark that the Karemma didnt help in the war and they took his potential profits in the Gamma quadrant. Maybe I made sure Tendi was 'trapped' in the Karemma ship. She was the only one that could take it and stop the Karemma. I *might* have short sold Quark's Stock in Ferenginar for a tidy sum. You know major, the Tailoring business is not the same as before"
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Austin
Sat, Oct 1, 2022, 4:53pm (UTC -6)
I’m with Zimmerman in this one. This was great fan service, but not much else substantively. Having Nana Visitor and Armin Shimerman continues the Lower Decks history of amazing special guests, but nothing was interesting, and nothing really made me laugh. If you can’t have substance, at least provide some comedic relief. I guess if fan service is the aim, they succeeded in both DS9 fan service and with LGBTQ fan service with transitioning Mariner from “meh, romance schmomance” to “Star crossed lesbian lover”. 2.5 stars from me. I’m giving one bonus star for each special guest, because without them, let’s face it, this episode is a dud.
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Kyle
Sat, Oct 1, 2022, 9:53pm (UTC -6)
"Tacky Fascist Cardaissian eysore!" "Just keep circling" as the DS9 theme plays: Hilarious!! And I say that as someone who loves DS9.
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Kyle
Sat, Oct 1, 2022, 9:57pm (UTC -6)
"As I understand it, Alex Kurtzman would like to return to Deep Space Nine as a series somehow."

Dear God Please No!! Don't let him sully and besmirch the DS9 legacy and characters the way he has done with TNG and Cpt. Picard.
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lizzzi
Sat, Oct 1, 2022, 9:58pm (UTC -6)
Pretty much just fun, light fluff again, but enjoyable enough. I loved DS9, and loved seeing Quark, Kira Nerys, and the station again. That crack about fascist, Cardassian eyesore was funny. I could handle a little more substance in these stories, but hey--if fun fluff is all we get, I'll take it.
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Kyle
Sat, Oct 1, 2022, 10:59pm (UTC -6)
Some of you may have seen this; since we're enoying the fan service for DS9 I thought I'd post it just for fun.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=59_Wzssx4iA
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Yanks
Mon, Oct 3, 2022, 9:22am (UTC -6)
@Kyle

""As I understand it, Alex Kurtzman would like to return to Deep Space Nine as a series somehow."

Dear God Please No!! Don't let him sully and besmirch the DS9 legacy and characters the way he has done with TNG and Cpt. Picard."

Agree wholeheartedly!!


Jammer,

"Unfortunately, as an episode of Lower Decks, this is purely standard fare and nothing more."

While I'll agree with you on the plot, I'm not sure we could have gotten "DS9 deep" here. We did learn something about DS9... OPS is manned totally by Bajorans so I think it's safe to assume that Bajor has taken over DS9.

This is a pretty standard DS9 Ferengi story... or more accurately a Quark story... All in good fun, which is what STLD is. Tendi steps up when she needs to, bold Boimler...., Rutherford seems to know a bunch about DS9... and we of course get a lesbian kiss in fine keeping with DS9 tradition.

I got goosebumps when DS9 appeared on screen with the DS9 theme playing... man, they stepped up the animation here I thought. The detail on the station and Cerritos was incredible.

Where were Obrien and Bashir? It seems we could/should have had them here too. A missed opportunity I think.

3.5 stars from me. Glad that LD took a trip to DS9!
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Karl Zimmerman
Mon, Oct 3, 2022, 1:04pm (UTC -6)
So, my initial thoughts last week were pretty brief, but to elaborate.

1. Mariner's plot could literally have happened anywhere, in any episode this season. Apparently Tawny Newsome had to beg the showrunner for the final scene where she goes onto DS9 - the original plan was for her to be on the ship the entire episode. Which is absolutely insane, because the first two seasons established she was stationed there, and the plot should have involved her and her history with Quark/Kira strongly. I think what we got here was fine, but it just could have been anywhere else but here.

2. Tendi's arc only really involved DS9 because they happened to station the tryhard Orion dude there (who seemingly is the only Starfleet officer now working on DS9). Again, it really could have gone anywhere, because the way in which it related to Quark's shenanigans didn't really matter. It was about Tendi being too nice of a person to someone annoying until she finally snapped, and badass Tendi came out. This was a failure as an arc though, since we already knew from Season 2 she came from a family of Orion pirates. It showed us nothing new about her as a character, and one could argue it didn't really showcase any character growth for her.

The actual core shit that Quark was getting into with the Karemma was a classic DS9 lower-stakes plot. The issue was that this plot didn't involve the Lower Deckers at all. I realize the way this series typically works is there's the main adventure the actual bridge crew of the Cerritos is doing off to one side while the Lower Decks folks are involved in minor hijinks. But they had the perfect "in" here because of the history between Mariner and Quark. They could have had Quark call in a favor to Mariner and have them do some sort of weird scutwork (hopefully something involving self-sealing stem bolts) while negotiations with the Karemma were going on - which eventually ties into Quark being kidnapped.

Basically, I feel like they should have approached this episode like Wej Duj from last season - have it be basically a DS9 episode that the Lower Deckers happen to be the guest cast within. Instead we have a generic Lower Decks episode which takes place while a generic DS9 episode (which is probably more interesting) is going on (though neither one is all that funny, to be honest).
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Kyle
Mon, Oct 3, 2022, 5:28pm (UTC -6)
@ Yanks: Remember, O'brien left DS9 to return to earth with Keiko and Molly; but we could have had Bashir still on the station.

@ Zimmerman: I agree we really need some delving into Mariner's backstory; it should spread out over a few episodes; it doesn't have to be all at once. We could have gotten some gleaning here from her connections with Kira and Quark. Missed opportunity I hope they rectify soon. I love the light comedy and shenanigans but we need some substance too; give some gravitas to the characters so we can take them more seriously.

If you are all feeling nostalgic for DS9, you should check out the "All That We Left Behind" documentary on Amazon Prime. Among other things, they give a hypothetical treatment/summary for the pilot episode to a hypothetical season 8. Just don't let Kurtzman get his hands on it.
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Yanks
Mon, Oct 3, 2022, 7:08pm (UTC -6)
@Kyle

"@ Yanks: Remember, O'brien left DS9 to return to earth with Keiko and Molly; but we could have had Bashir still on the station."

Ah, you're right. Thanks.
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Gorn with the Wind
Tue, Oct 4, 2022, 9:39pm (UTC -6)
I wonder what it would take to get Avery Brooks to return to Star Trek? Likely nothing short of a straight jacket, a xanax drip, and all the gold in Fort Knox
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Gorn with the Wind
Tue, Oct 4, 2022, 9:53pm (UTC -6)
I agree about the lack of substance in LD season 3. The characters haven’t progressed barely at all, nor have we scratched the surface of the “upper deckers”.

It’s interesting to compare the show to the TNG ep, where the characters had fairly strong motivations, backstories, and arcs that unfolded over 45 minutes or so. Feel like I know that Bajoran lady way better than Tendi.

It’s okay for Lower Decks to be fun and zany and full of fan service, but there has to be some reason to tune in. I feel myself wanting to root for these characters (and for Starfleet), but there’s just not enough in the way of stakes. And by stakes, I don’t mean “save the universe”. Modest stakes, if handled properly, can feel as profound as big ones. More so, in fact, because the viewer isn’t benumbed to maximalist set pieces.

Maybe Rutherford has to deal with a malfunctioning replicator on a first date with Tendi. Maybe Boimler’s perfectionism lands him in trouble when he goes off script on an away mission. Oh I don’t know, maybe Mariner has to relearn how to give a crap about her career.

We’ve had fits and starts of the above, but we’re three seasons in and the show is still spinning its wheels.
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Reeves
Wed, Oct 5, 2022, 7:09am (UTC -6)
“Feel like I know that Bajoran Lady way better than Tendi.”

Oh yes, that Bajoran lady from that one episode of Star Trek was great.
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Gorn with the Wind
Wed, Oct 5, 2022, 8:44am (UTC -6)
Yes, she wanted to prove to Picard that she was worthy of Starfleet after the First Duty disaster. She risked everything to help a Cardassian spy (the enemy!), and lost her life in the process. This happened in the episode Lower Decks on the show Star Trek the Next Generation.

Now do you have anything whatsoever to add, or are you just going to make more lazy, assholish comments?
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C.T Phipps
Fri, Oct 14, 2022, 1:49pm (UTC -6)
I think it's interesting to note that Season 3's writing seems determined to try to pull back from Season 2. Season 2 was something that got away from the idea of "pointless normal Star Trek busywork" as the Cerritos' business and had them actually doing important things like trying to solve the Pakled terrorism problem. I mean, Pakleds, but the stakes were no lower than any other Star Trek show.

This seems to have bothered the creators so this is now a bunch of episodes where it's far lower stakes.

Which may not be a good idea.

But you know what? Screw it. Nana Visitor and Armin are back. I am a DS9 fanboy and loved this. It gets a 10/10 just for having her staring wistfully at the wormhole and thinking of either Odo, Sisko, or both.
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ur mom
Wed, Nov 2, 2022, 6:37am (UTC -6)
Quark's plot was so Quark that upon my first viewing I swore up and down they just directly lifted it from a DS9 episode. Also I loved the over-the-top satirizing of Worf's Klingabooism via Mesk.
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Adolfo Franco
Fri, Dec 9, 2022, 7:38am (UTC -6)
DS9 fan-service accepted. Thank you! On the other hand, Mariner really sucks. I hope they fix the character somehow, or replace her.

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